Peer ministers lead Courage Retreat

Annalisa Huge

This year, twelve senior Peer Ministers got the chance to be a part of the Youth Frontier seventh grade Courage Retreat at Our Lady of Grace. The day was filled with life lessons and thought-provoking stories that taught seventh graders how to use their everyday courage.

This retreat had students realizing how they affect others. “I think it definitely benefited the students; by the end of the retreat the kids were really connecting with all their peers,” said senior Andy Kalb, a Peer Minister who helped lead the retreat.

Designed for seventh and eighth graders, this retreat works to empower middle school students to examine their everyday fears and commit themselves to acting with courage. “It takes courage to stand up for what’s right when your peers are going in the opposite direction,” said one of the directors of Youth Frontiers, Joe Beckman.

Youth Frontiers provides powerful experiences similar to the courage retreat, such as the kindness, respect, and wisdom retreats. This organization works to build positive school communities and break down barriers between students. “Regardless of the type of retreat experience, whether it be the Courage Retreat or the Respect Retreat or others that they present, they always do a beautiful job in reaching the kids, bringing them to a deeper understanding of their individual gifts, the value of other people, and the importance of making good decisions,” said Mike Jeremiah.

All students can act with moral courage when facing a decision, and through stories and games, Youth Frontiers successfully creates an environment where students can feel comfortable using moral courage.
“At the beginning we played high energy and fun games to get the kids excited and comfortable with us and their peers. Through out the rest of the day we switched between games and serious activities. I was personally surprised by how much maturity and respect the seventh graders showed to the leaders and their peers during the small groups and other sessions,” said Peer Minister Katie McClurg.

At the closing of the retreat, students had the choice to get up in front of everyone and tell what act of courage they were going to do to make a change in themselves or their school. “I was really impressed by how many seventh graders shared things in front of their whole class; some of the things they said were really touching,” said McClurg.